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Cost To Rebuild Homes In Southern California Wildfires Could Reach Billions In Worst-Case Scenario

Los Angeles
Creek Fire

As firefighters continue to contain the wildfires that consumed several areas across Southern California, a real estate data firm said in a worst-case scenario, the potential cost of destroyed homes, businesses and other structures could reach the multibillions.

The more than 86,000 homes that fall at some level of risk in the path of three of the six wildfires that broke out starting Dec. 4 — the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, the Rye Fire in Valencia and the Creek Fire in Sylmar — could have a combined reconstruction cost value of $27.7B, according to CoreLogic's hazard risk analysis study released Friday.

The study is based on a fully destroyed home and takes account of how much it would cost to reconstruct a home based on geography, labor and materials.

The analysis represents the total and maximum risk from this event, not the predicted loss, CoreLogic reports.

The study does not include the other major wildfires: the Lilac Fire in San Diego County, the Skirball Fire in Los Angeles and the Liberty Fire in Riverside County.

The remains of the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, which was destroyed during the Wine Country wildfires in October 2017

The CoreLogic study comes just a day after the California Department of Insurance released a report stating that the wildfires that consumed parts of Northern California and Orange County in October accounted for $9.4B in claimed losses.

More than 14,600 people filed residential claims in Sonoma County totaling $6.9B in direct incurred losses, of which $2.37B have been paid out.

The insurance report states commercial property owners in Sonoma County filed 1,595 claims with $480M in direct losses. More than $128M have been paid out, according to the report.

It is unclear how the wildfires will impact the housing situation in pricey Southern California.

The fires could increase the cost of homes in the area, according to In Northern California, the real estate website found, the median prices of homes in affected areas actually rose 6.1% in Sonoma County and 7.5% in Napa County.

Experts quoted in the story suggests the housing shortage in Northern California and the area's historically strong neighborhood reputation are reasons why there has not been a drop-off in demand.  

The remains of an area after the Creek Fire in Sylmar

As of Monday, the six major wildfires across Southern California have scorched nearly 257,000 acres and destroyed or damaged 1,426 structures.

As of 10 a.m., the Lilac Fire in the north county of San Diego had consumed 4,100 acres and more than 200 structures were destroyed or damaged. The fire is 80% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Rye Fire in Valencia charred 6,049 acres and is 93% contained. Six structures were destroyed and three were damaged, Cal Fire reported.

The Thomas Fire has grown to 230,500 acres and 15% contained. As of Monday, it has destroyed nearly 800 structures in its path and displaced about 95,000 residents.

The Creek Fire in Sylmar has burned 15,619 acres. The fire is 95% contained. The fire has burned down 123 structures, of which nearly half were houses, according to Cal Fire. Another 81 structures were damaged by the fire, authorities said.

The Skirball Fire has consumed 422 acres. It is 85% contained. The wildfire received a lot of attention because of its proximity to posh multimillion-dollar homes and the Getty Center museum. It destroyed six homes and damaged 12 more, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Liberty Fire in Murrieta in Riverside County is 100% contained. The fire that broke out last Thursday had consumed 300 acres and destroyed seven structures, according to City News Service.